Guest post by Marc Bélanger, Radio Labour presenter and labour educator
The labour movement has created a new tool in its efforts to build national and international solidarity: an audio news show on the Internet. The show, called Solidarity News, is available on RadioLabour at www.radiolabour.net. It is 20 minutes of news about workers and their organizations from all around the world. The newscast is made available every Sunday morning and is kept on the RadioLabour website throughout its current week
Solidarity news is both a journalistic and educational project.
In terms of labour journalism, it reports news about unions using its own team of reporters. But, also, it encourages anybody related to the labour movement to contribute audio reports. These reports could cover particular events, such as a strike or convention, or the point of view of labour organizations on particular issues. People wanting to contribute audio reports can do so by using inexpensive recording equipment (usually just a headset) and editing software that is available free of charge. Even more easily, people can supply reports by leaving a message on RadioLabour’s voicemail box on Skype, a voice-over-Internet service.
RadioLabour’s educational aims are met in a number of ways. First, reporting on events and issues about the labour movement internationally is, in itself, an educational activity. People learn about the events and issues of unions around the world. But RadioLabour has features more directly focused on labour education. For example, it provides all the scripts of its audio presentations on its web site. In this way, unionists studying English as an Additional Language (EAL) are able to study the scripts while listening to the audio presentations. In the second phase of its development RadioLabour will supply English language lessons in conjunction with the audiocasts. The main goal of all this is to help the thousands of unionists who are trying to better participate in the international labour movement by studying one of its main operating languages. But also the service could be used to promote literacy programs in unions. Additionally, as RadioLabour develops, it will be using the newscasts as sources of information for online classes about the global labour movement.
The audio service will also help bring the operations of the global movement closer to unionists around the world. For example, RadioLabour will be audiocasting a daily report from the convention of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to be held in Canada in June. For the first time unionists will be able to follow closely the activities of their representatives at the global level as they prepare their policies and plans of action.
RadioLabour could become a very important vehicle for presenting labour’s voices to the world.